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How to Transition Baby to Crib: Complete Guide to Making the Crib Transition

Whether your baby started sleeping in a bassinet, in your bed or in a swing, at some point all babies make the crib transition.

This transition can be tricky: babies are creatures of habit and disruptions to their routine can sometimes cause temporary sleep setbacks. You’re probably uncertain about when to transition to crib, or how to actually go about transitioning baby to crib. You’ve come to the right place.

We asked Rachel Turner, certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and owner of Hello Sleep, to share her top 3 tips for making a smooth transition. We’ll walk you through how to transition baby to crib below to help you feel confident embarking on this journey!

Rachel Turner

Meet our expert

Rachel Turner is a Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant and owner of Hello Sleep, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her love for sleep evolved when her two daughters were infants. With her training, Rachel was able to get them sleeping well as newborns and is now using those same techniques with her new baby, Jack. Rachel has helped families near and far overcome their baby’s sleep challenges and say hello to sleep again.

What makes the crib transition difficult?

As adults, we typically love our beds and that point when our head hits the pillow after a long day. It gives us feelings of comfort, relaxation, and luxury. 

But for babies, the sight of their crib can sometimes signal mommy/daddy leaving the scene for a while. It can mean that playtime is over and often lead to protests at bedtime.

It’s not uncommon to deal with a baby fighting sleep around this time. You may notice your newborn cries when put down in their crib, and this can lead to the dreaded sleep regression.

The good news? We’ll share tips to help avoid this and ensure a smooth crib transition. But first, let’s talk about when to transition to crib.

When to Transition to Crib

There’s nothing wrong with co sleeping with your baby up to a certain point. But just as with when to transition from sleep sack to blanket or the swaddle transition, all good things eventually come to an end. 

It’s time for you to get your bed back and regain some of your freedom as a parent, and it starts with transitioning baby to crib. So, when can babies sleep in their own room

This is such a personal decision that each family has to make to work around their own needs. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing—ideally for the first year, but at least the first 6 months. 

This means you would keep the baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep. Place your baby's crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard in your bedroom, close to your bed.

The AAP recommends room-sharing because it can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50% and is much safer than bed-sharing. In addition, room-sharing will make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby.

You should always speak with your doctor to discuss if you plan to transition your child out of the crib and your room prior to the 6- to 12-month AAP recommendation.

How to Transition Baby to Crib: Tips on Making the Crib Transition as Smooth as Possible

 

 

The idea of transitioning baby to crib can be daunting. But, I’ve got some advice for building a positive sleep association between your little one and their crib, which will help put an end to bedtime battles. Here’s how to transition baby to crib quickly and easily!

1. Get them comfortable with the crib

The best way to transition baby to crib is to get them familiar with it before you start making the transition. 

If you have room, bring the crib into your room and have your baby start sleeping in there as soon as possible! This will start a positive sleep association with the crib and get your baby as comfortable with the crib as possible.

2. Stay consistent

Try to be as consistent as possible with all sleep! Whatever is happening in one sleep situation needs to be happening in all sleep situations to send a clear message about what is expected. The more time spent in the crib for naps and bedtime, the easier it will become over time.

3. Start small & take time

If your baby is struggling to nap or go to sleep in their crib, start small. I recommend starting with just bedtime for a few weeks. Your baby is usually more tired towards the end of the day when bedtime comes around, so it’s easier to start the transition at nighttime vs naptime.

Regardless of whether or not your baby is too tall or too heavy for the bassinet, if they can roll over or sit up, that’s your cue to move them to their crib.  - Newton Baby

Once bedtime is going well, start with 1 nap per day. Multiple naps during the day for younger babies can be very stressful — for both mom and baby. By starting with one nap per day, mom can focus on perfecting that nap and not get too stressed. Once that goes well, move on to all naps.

4. Invest in the Right Sleepwear

The role of sleepwear in your baby’s transition to the crib cannot be overstated. It plays a pivotal part in ensuring your little one’s comfort, safety, and overall ability to sleep well in their new environment. Here’s why dressing baby for sleep can’t be taken lightly:

  • Comfort: Soft, comfortable sleepwear is essential for a good night's rest. It should be made from breathable materials like cotton or bamboo rayon fabric to prevent overheating and allow for easy movement.
  • Safety: The right sleepwear should fit well - not too loose to avoid entanglement risks, and not too tight to ensure comfort. Sleepwear should also be free from small buttons or loose embellishments that could pose a choking hazard.
  • Temperature Regulation: Different materials and thicknesses play a key role in regulating your baby's body temperature. It’s important to choose sleepwear that’s appropriate for the season and your home’s temperature.

And, for the best weighted sleepwear online, you needn’t look further than Nested Bean! Whether you’re looking for a swaddle vs sleep sack, we’ve developed the best solution to help with transitioning baby to crib. Here are the various syles you can choose from:

Our weighted sleep sacks are renowned for their gently weighted design, which mimics a parent's soothing touch. 

This feature provides a sense of security and comfort, aiding in a smoother transition to the crib. The sleep sacks come in various materials and TOG ratings, ensuring there’s an option for every climate and season, promoting optimal sleep conditions.

In addition to sleep sacks, Nested Bean’s weighted swaddles are perfect for younger babies who are not yet rolling over. These swaddles provide the snugness and security that newborns crave, facilitating an easier shift to more open sleepwear as they grow. 

Learn more about the types of swaddles, what to wear under sleep sack, when to stop using sleep sack, benefits of swaddling, and more in our blog.

5. Create a Comfortable Crib Environment

Creating a comfortable crib environment is essential for a smooth transition and ensuring your baby feels secure and at ease in their new sleep space.

Choose a firm, well-fitting crib mattress. A snug fit without gaps ensures safety and comfort. The mattress should be firm enough to support your baby safely. Opt for soft, breathable, baby-safe crib sheets. Avoid loose bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals in the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Consider using a white noise machine to mimic the sound environment of the womb and installing dim, warm lights for a peaceful ambiance. Introduce elements that your baby is familiar with, such as a favorite sleep sack or a small crib-friendly toy. This can help the crib feel more inviting.

Dealing With Separation Anxiety During the Crib Transition

Even with our tips on how to transition baby to crib you may deal with a bit of baby separation anxiety

This is nothing to be too concerned about, and it may be a sign it’s time to start sleep training. That being said, here are some tips on helping your baby stay calm during the crib transition:

  • Maintain Physical Proximity: Initially, try to keep the crib in your room if possible. This can ease the anxiety of being in a completely new space.
  • Comforting Pre-Bedtime Routine: Establish a soothing bedtime routine such as a warm bath, gentle massage, or soft lullabies. Consistent routines signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep and provide comfort.
  • Stay Calm and Reassuring: When you put your baby down in the crib, stay calm and reassuring. A calm demeanor can be incredibly soothing for your baby.
  • Respond to Their Needs: If your baby cries, respond promptly. Offer comfort and reassurance that you are there. Over time, they will learn that the crib is a safe place even if you’re not right there.

Help your baby learn to love the crib with the Zen Sack

Shop Zen Sacks

 

Bringing Our Conversation on Transitioning Baby to Crib to a Close

While the idea of transitioning baby to crib can be daunting, we hope our guide helps you enjoy a  smooth, painless crib transition. As daunting as this may be, it’s something every parent goes through - you’re not alone. 

You’ll get through this no matter how long it takes or how it impossible it may seem as you first start the process. And, now that you know when to transition to crib and how to transition baby to crib, you can feel confident taking the first step.

For more tips on infant sleep, explore our blog. You can learn about when to stop dream feed, when do toddlers stop napping, home remedies for teething baby at night, wake windows by age, and more.

Otherwise, start transitioning baby to crib with confidence and clarity using our tips on when to move baby to crib, the best way to transition baby to crib, and of course, the best weighted sleepwear at Nested Bean!

     

    Athena S.

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